On the Media: September 23, 2011

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Friday, September 23, 2011

It's hack week! Discussing the meaning of the word "hacker," the broad use of an anti-hacking law, and the Internet's volunteer anti-hacker task force. Also, the resignation of Al Jazeera Director General Wadah Khanfar.

A Big Change at Al Jazeera

This week Wadah Khanfar stepped down as Director General at Al Jazeera after Wikileaks released cables revealing that he had altered coverage in response to pressure from the US. Or he left as a result of politics within Al Jazeera. Or he was pushed out for other reasons entirely.  Bob talked about the possible reasons for Khanfar's departure with Lawrence Pintak, author of The New Arab Journalist: Mission and Identity in a Time of Turmoil and Dean of the Edward R. Murrow College of Communication.

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Death for Blogging

Last week the mutilated bodies of a man and a woman were found dangling from a pedestrian overpass in the Mexican boarder town of Nuevo Laredo, with notes explicitly warning that those posting the wrong things on the internet will share the same fate. As Drug cartels in Mexico turn their sights on blogs and twitter feeds, the mostly-anonymous social media may have an advantage that eludes mainstream journalism. Louis Nevaer of New America Media discusses the drug wars and the possibility of a newly empowered Mexican social body.

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Criticizing Israel, Outside of Israel

In a much-discussed essay in a 2010 issue of the New York Review of Books, journalist Peter Beinart argues that groups like the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and the Anti-Defamation League squelch criticism on these shores by regarding critics of Israel as enemies of Israel. Beinart and Steven Rosen, formerly of AIPAC, debate the issue in a story originally broadcast in June 2010.

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Ready For The Next Big Internet Crisis

The motivations of hackers are often obscure. The motivations of the handlers at the Internet Storm Center—the people who stand ready to battle the latest internet malady—are a little easier to understand.  Bob spoke with Alan Paller, the Director of Research at Sans Institute, home to the Internet Storm Center.  Paller says they do it to feel like they're making a difference, for personal pride...and a for leather jacket.

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The Hacker Law

Passed in 1986, the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act was specifically meant to target hacking. But in recent years it's been used to prosecute a much wider swath of behavior, some of which has nothing to do with hacking. Marcia Hofmann of the Electronic Frontier Foundation talks to Brooke about the perils of having such a vague law on the books.

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Word Watch: Hacker

This year we've heard stories about hacking, from The News of the World scandal to the exploits of groups like Anonymous and Lulzsec. But the way the media uses the word hack diverges sharply from the way it's used by actual hackers. On the Media Producer Alex Goldman explores the history of the word and how its meaning has shifted over time. 

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